Tuesday, March 4, 2014
I feel like I'm always a day late and a dollar short when it comes to food fads. What's in today, is out tomorrow. There has been a cupcake craze, the bacon craze, kale and green smoothies everywhere and the list goes on and on. Chia seeds have been around for quite a while, but I'm a novice when it comes to this ingredient.
I've known of chia seeds since I was little and chia pets made regular appearances in commercials. I did own a couple of them over the years and let me tell you, they never worked for me like they did on TV (#majorfail). So yes, I knew about chia, but it never crossed my mind to eat them.
For the last year or so, I've seen more and more recipes including these little seeds pop up all over the internet and they began to peak my interest. I started to do some research on them and to my surprise they are a super food. Who knew that these little buggers are chock full of Omega 3, can balance your blood sugar, keep you full longer, add age-defying anti oxidants as well as many other health benefits. Color me impressed!
So I figured I'll "ease" into it by starting with a fairly basic recipe for Chia Seed Pudding. There are a lot of recipes for this, but the gist is pretty much the same. Almond milk, yogurt, some kind of natural sweetener and of course chia seeds. Mix it up and let it sit overnight. The seeds do their magic thing after a few hours and you have this amazing concoction that is incredibly tasty on top of being healthy.
With St. Patrick's Day only a couple of weeks away I decided to add a little whimsy by matching my fruit topping to the colors of the Irish Flag. Kiwis, bananas and mandarin oranges along with a few toasted almonds for added crunch completed the pudding. The verdict: So freaking good! I think I have a new breakfast favorite and I can't wait to make this again. What a great way to wake up your family on St. Patrick's Day with this healthy breakfast.
St. Patrick's Day Chia Seed Pudding
~makes 4 servings~
(Print this Recipe)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup plain (2 percent) Greek Yogurt
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 cup chia seeds
3 small kiwis, peeled and chopped
1 large banana, peeled and cut into slices
1 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges (no sugar added), drained
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 tsp. pure maple syrup
In a medium bowl, gently whisk the almond milk, yogurt, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, the vanilla extract and the 1/8 teaspoon of salt until just blended. Whisk in the chia seeds; let stand 30 minutes. Stir to distribute the seeds if they have settled. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, in a small bowl, toss the toasted almonds with 2 teaspoons maple syrup. Set aside. Spoon the pudding into 4 glasses or bowls. Top with kiwis, bananas, and mandarin oranges. Mound the almonds on top and serve.
Slightly adapted from: Giada De Laurentiis
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
When it comes to grocery shopping, I'd like to think I'm a pretty organized person. I write out a list and mostly stick to it. The only exception is Costco. I can never leave that store without a few additional items in my cart that are new to the store or that I find while browsing the aisles.
A lot of times that also means I find inspiration for new recipes by discovering ingredients while out shopping. It is often that these finds will make my wheels start turning and I come up with ideas on the spot. Usually my poor husband is on the receiving end with recipes spewing out of my mouth as we continue our grocery haul. I do have to give him credit though, he always listens patiently and gives good constructive criticism, but I'm sure many times he would rather roll his eyes at his crazy wife.
Finding a big bag of dried blueberries at Costco was my inspiration for today's recipe. I kept thinking along the lines of cookies, but after inspecting my pantry and seeing a big jar of coconut oil and a bag of white chocolate chips the idea for a muffin recipe was born. While most blueberry muffins are made with fresh berries, the dried version works extremely well in this recipe and adds a lot of flavor without adding the extra liquid or discoloring the finished product. The addition of coconut oil over a more traditional canola oil added the slightest hint of coconut without overpowering the finished baked good, along with giving the muffins a light and airy texture.
A simple lemon powdered sugar glaze provides a nice contrast of flavors while adding a bit of tartness to the muffins, but you could certainly serve them as is. This recipe got two giant thumbs up in our family and has since been added to our favorites list.
~makes about 15 muffins~
(Print this Recipe)
For the muffins:
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup milk (almond milk is ok)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
For the glaze:
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
3/4 cup powdered sugar
For the muffins: Pre-heat oven to 375° F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners OR grease well. Set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt.
In another bowl combine eggs, sour cream, coconut oil, milk, and vanilla.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Fold in blueberries and white chocolate chips.
Divide the batter equally among the muffin cups filling each about 3/4 full and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove and let cool on a wire rack.
For the glaze: Whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice and powdered sugar until smooth. Drizzle over cooled muffins.
Notes: I used Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin coconut oil in these muffins. I found my giant container at Costco, but you can also find it online.
When using lemon zest in a recipe, I like to use an organic lemon. Most grocery stores carry them and they don't cost much more than conventional ones.
A Susi's Kochen und Backen Original Recipe
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
I have come to the conclusion that many times when people claim they don't like to eat certain vegetables, it really means they probably have never had it prepared in a way that would appeal to them. With so many different options and recipes available on how to turn an otherwise boring vegetable into a showstopper, it makes it hard to believe that an aversion against a certain food couldn't be overturned.
I think Cauliflower is a great example. By simply steaming the vegetable you end up with a "blah" version that can be kind of tasteless, but because of its mild flavor it can also be extremely versatile and lend itself to a lot of different and tasty applications. Recently there has been a surge in popularity for cauliflower. The florets are low in fat and carbs, high in fiber, folic acid and vitamin C, which makes this vegetable a winner in my book. If you perform a quick search, you can find an amazing variety of recipes. They range from roasted cauliflower, gratins, soups, dips, faux alfredo sauces and even pizza crust. While I've tried quite a few of these different versions, cauliflower pizza crust is still one that eludes me, but I will never say never.
A few weeks ago I made Canadian Bacon Cauliflower Cheddar Cups for my family with great results, so I decided to experiment a little more and came up with this delicious mashed version. I started with a basic recipe, but by adding sweet, roasted garlic along with tangy and tart goat cheese, the dish was elevated to a whole new level. I achieved the desired consistency with my food processor, but an immersion blender or even a good old fashioned potato masher should do the trick as well. I served this with grilled steak and a big side salad, but ate leftovers with a couple of over-easy eggs the next day and had to restrain myself from licking the plate. So tasty, so simple, and most definitely one of my new favorites.
Mashed Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic & Goat Cheese
~makes 5-6 servings~
(Print this Recipe)
5-6 cups cauliflower florets (about 1 medium head)
1 vegetable bouillon cube
8-10 roasted garlic cloves (see notes)
4 Tbsp. soft goat cheese
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
4 Tbsp. green onions, chopped
Roast garlic (see note), remove cloves from skin and set aside.
On the stove-top, add cauliflower to a pot, fill with about 4 cups of water. Add the vegetable bouillon cube and steam/cook cauliflower until soft. Drain the cauliflower and add to a food processor.
Process cauliflower along with the roasted garlic cloves, goat cheese, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper and 1/8 tsp. nutmeg until smooth.
Transfer mixture to a bowl, check for additional salt and pepper and fold in 3 Tbsp. of the green onions. Sprinkle with additional reserved onions and serve immediately.
Notes: To roast the garlic, preheat oven to 400° F. Take one whole garlic bulb and cut 1/4 to 1/2 inch off the top. Lay on a piece of aluminum foil big enough to wrap the head of garlic, drizzle with about 1 tsp. of olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Wrap it in the foil and roast in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until garlic is soft and golden brown. Let cool for about 15 minutes before handling. Use your fingers or a fork to squeeze and pull roasted garlic out of the skin.
If you don't like the taste of goat cheese, cream cheese would also be an acceptable substitution.
A Susi's Kochen und Backen Original Recipe